Tribpedia: Water Supply

Tribpedia

Population growth and several droughts in the late 1990s and early 2000s led to more concern over Texas's water supply. Debate over the issue typically finds landowners on one side, environmentalists on the other. Environmental groups support restrictions on water pumping and water use, because droughts proved the risk of a low water supply, and because of the risk ...

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Old Drilling Logs Help Researchers Map Brackish Water

Daniel Ortuño, who manages the 1.5 million drilling records stored at the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology, examines well data in what he calls the "spooky room," home to thousands of records that he has not yet organized. State water researchers are using information from some logs to map potential water sources.
Daniel Ortuño, who manages the 1.5 million drilling records stored at the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology, examines well data in what he calls the "spooky room," home to thousands of records that he has not yet organized. State water researchers are using information from some logs to map potential water sources.

As drought grips most of Texas, researchers are combing the state's 1.5 million drilling records to map brackish water in the state's 30 aquifers — hidden resources that could help quench the state’s long-term thirst.

Texas claims New Mexico is using more water from the Rio Grande River than it is entitled to.
Texas claims New Mexico is using more water from the Rio Grande River than it is entitled to.

Texas Hoping for Edge Over New Mexico in Water Battle

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With the official support of the U.S. government, Texas now hopes it has a substantial edge over New Mexico in an interstate legal battle over water from the Rio Grande. New Mexico has maintained its position that its obligations are to its own reservoirs — not to the water needs of Texas or Mexico. 

A cascade aerator is shown at the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant outside of San Antonio, where the San Antonio Water System maintains an underground storage reservoir.
A cascade aerator is shown at the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant outside of San Antonio, where the San Antonio Water System maintains an underground storage reservoir.

Despite Successes, Water Still Vexes San Antonio

San Antonio is internationally renowned for its successes in water conservation, but it still struggles amid explosive growth. Its search for new water supplies has had limited success and sparked accusations of the city being overly aggressive. It also has sparked fear that the city could lose its green reputation

LCRA's Max Starcke Dam, just east of Marble Falls, Texas. It is one of six dams the agency operates.
LCRA's Max Starcke Dam, just east of Marble Falls, Texas. It is one of six dams the agency operates.

In Central Texas, Drought Threatens Hydropower

The ongoing drought in Central Texas is claiming an innocent bystander: hydroelectricity. As the Lower Colorado River Authority limits water releases downstream, hydroelectricity — a power source that spurred the LCRA's creation almost 80 years ago — has faded further into obscurity.

Cloud Seeding Advocates Look to Build Momentum

As dry conditions persist throughout Texas, policymakers have talked about projects like building new reservoirs and desalination plants and drinking recycled wastewater. Some scientists and water planners want to add "weather modification" to that list. This story was produced in partnership with KUT News. 

Docks on the edge of Lake Kickapoo, which is less than one-third full, no longer reach the water in Holiday, Feb 3, 2014.
Docks on the edge of Lake Kickapoo, which is less than one-third full, no longer reach the water in Holiday, Feb 3, 2014.

Texans' Water Conservation Reward: Higher Rates

Drought-stricken Texas cities have succeeded in encouraging residents to slash their water consumption — but they've lost money in the process by selling less water. That means everyone must pay higher rates, regardless of how much water they use. 

Hugh Fitzsimons surveys the old windmill that pumps at two gallons a minute to fill the pila that then feeds the water trough for his bison and wildlife at SHAPE Ranch in Carrizo Springs, TX, February, 21, 2013.
Hugh Fitzsimons surveys the old windmill that pumps at two gallons a minute to fill the pila that then feeds the water trough for his bison and wildlife at SHAPE Ranch in Carrizo Springs, TX, February, 21, 2013.

Report: Water Availability a Risk for Oil, Gas Drillers

A new national report on water use for hydraulic fracturing suggests that oil and gas companies are at risk of running short on the precious resource — especially in South Texas.

 

Mike Skinner on Dec. 26, 2013 outside the farmhouse on the land five miles east of Spearman that he sold last spring. Three generations of his family had farmed the land.
Mike Skinner on Dec. 26, 2013 outside the farmhouse on the land five miles east of Spearman that he sold last spring. Three generations of his family had farmed the land.

Farms Aren’t Going Away, but a Lot of Little Ones Are

A growing number of Texans are leaving farming and ranching because of opportunities in urban areas, a spike in land prices and concerns about risky weather patterns fueled by a blockbuster drought that continues to plague much of the state. And the agricultural workforce is not getting any younger.

 

TXDOT chief Phil Wilson at an Aug. 29, 2013 board meeting in Austin. Wilson has been tapped to lead the Lower Colorado River Authority.
TXDOT chief Phil Wilson at an Aug. 29, 2013 board meeting in Austin. Wilson has been tapped to lead the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Phil Wilson Named New LCRA General Manager

The Lower Colorado River Authority's board tapped Phil Wilson, the Texas Department of Transportation's executive director, to be the agency's new general manager. The announcement came as a surprise, and TxDOT said it has no transition plan in place for Wilson's departure at the end of the year. 

Troubled Waters: The State of Texas Rivers

Every Texas river is threatened by nearly unprecedented drought and the looming effects of climate change. Take a look back at our series and interactive map exploring the history, health and future of some of Texas' most important and legendary rivers.

In a case before the Texas Supreme Court, representatives from a Liberty County rice farm say that water from an injection well has "trespassed" in the aquifer beneath its property.
In a case before the Texas Supreme Court, representatives from a Liberty County rice farm say that water from an injection well has "trespassed" in the aquifer beneath its property.

Texas Supreme Court to Mull Underground Trespassing

The Texas Supreme Court will hear arguments next month in a case that pits two interests that are dear to many Texans against each other: oil and gas resources versus private property rights. The justices will consider a broad question: Just how far below the earth’s surface do property lines extend?

Video: Lack of Freshwater Threatens Matagorda Bay

Fishing and tourism in Matagorda Bay depend in large part on freshwater supplied by the Colorado River. But the drought has all but cut off those flows. The Lower Colorado River Authority says that's not likely to change anytime soon unless Central Texas gets significant rains to shore up water supplies for Austin and nearby cities. In the meantime, wildlife and recreation on Texas' Gulf Coast have suffered. 

Jonathan Jones, Field Supervisor for Water Rescue Services, holding partially cleaned fracking waste water.
Jonathan Jones, Field Supervisor for Water Rescue Services, holding partially cleaned fracking waste water.

Water Recycling Minimal but Growing on Texas Oilfields

As the drought continues to take its toll across the state, more oil and gas companies are considering the long-term benefits of water recycling, and state officials are trying to make that transition easier. Despite that momentum, recycling is far from a mainstream practice.

 

Lorenzo, TX, on Mar. 8, 2012
Lorenzo, TX, on Mar. 8, 2012

Texans Look Beneath the Surface for Water

As the drought continues and farmers struggle to keep their crops irrigated, many are probing beneath their land for water. But when water is such a precious commodity, procuring it is not ever simple. As landowners fight for rights to water under their land, water district managers worry about a dwindling resource.